Once again some officious little turd at the Nova Scotia Health Authority is harassing the elderly. Today’s news is of the separation of Bryce and Hazel Gibson. They are a Halifax couple who met 85 years ago. Bryce is 95, Hazel is 93. They have been married for 75 years.
Because he’s a veteran Bryce is in the Camp Hill Veterans Memorial hospital. Hazel is not a veteran so has to stay at another long-term care facility. Hazel is allowed to make day visits to Bryce. The madness is that Camp Hill has empty beds, but private facilities across the province are bursting at the seams. If Hazel could be moved to the Camp Hill, not only would the couple be happier, which would contribute to better health, it would open a bed for another senior in need.
The federal government, through Veterans Affairs, allows the NSHA to use discretion to fill the empty beds. So why not allow Hazel to move in with Bryce? The impediment is the NSHA. The NSHA hasn’t made the bed request. Why? Like everything to do with the NSHA they claim it’s a complicated process. Bullshit! This is not a new or unique issue. It’s just the failure of bureaucrats to anticipate and act.
Read about Bruce and Hazel here:
Over and over again, the public is told about the problems Nova Scotia’s aging population presents to government and health care. In all those excuses we don’t hear solutions. Government and the NSHA have had time to factor that aging population into all their decisions. Except they don’t. They piss away time, seemingly hoping death will solve problems for them.
This is not the first time separating married seniors has become headline. In April, Edwin and Marjorie Crossland, another couple in their 90s, were forced to live apart. The NSHA determined that Edwin was too healthy to live in the same facility as Marjorie. There was no concept that keeping the couple together was best for them and that Edwin’s presence could be a comfort for Marjorie and his participation in her care may have helped maintain his health. It could also have relieved the stress on care givers.
Their family believed “a deeply flawed” NSHA assessment contributed to the problem. Flawed assessments and misdiagnosis are a growing issue with the NSHA. I know a person who suffered a stroke. The NSHA’s documents list “vertigo” as the diagnosis.
Read about Edwin and Marjorie here:
In December 2017 New Brunswickers Herbert Goodine, 91, and Audrey Goodine, 89, married for 69 years, were separated by New Brunswick’s health authority.
Their story is here:
Forceful breakups of long-standing marriages is such an epidemic in that October 2016 the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia introduced a bill guaranteeing couples could stay together in long-term care homes. Former party leader Jamie Baillie told the CBC he had been approached by a family about a situation where only one spouse could stay in a federal facility. Sound familiar?
At the time former Health Minister Leo Glavine, who had dealt with five similar cases, said, “When the day comes for [the couple] to go into a nursing home in Nova Scotia, they will go as a couple.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said the issue would be addressed in a continuing care strategy, for which there is no completion date. That was 21 months ago. Where’s the strategy?
Read about that here:
I don’t believe this government is anti-marriage, in spite of how it acts towards seniors who have been married long enough to qualify for congratulatory messages from The Queen. But what does it take for this government and the Nova Scotia Health Authority executives to act? This is an on-going issue that has been recognized since at least 2015. Just how long does it take them to address a problem? Such inaction leads the public to conclude that separations of seniors is policy.
If the job is too much for her, perhaps Janet Knox could take early retirement and allow someone with energy and ideas to take over the NSHA.